QA Class 150 Lesson 1-3: Drafting Quilts

“Most things are hard before they get easy.” Cindy at Live a Colorful Life left this great quote in a comment! I love it!

I love looking at quilts and marveling at their construction. I see a beautiful design, and immediately my mind wanders to “How in the world did (s)he do that?” This lesson will teach us to see how a quilt design comes together.


In this lesson we’re learning all about drafting quilts. Breaking down a design to its individual elements. The purpose for now is to draw the quilt before you make it as a way to understand its design and construction. The eventual goal is to come up with your own design and determine its elements to come up with a way to construct it.

The steps of drafting are broken into lessons:

1) Base grids – How to break a pattern into individual elements.

2) Grid size/block size – How to turn the individual elements into quilt blocks, which can be repeated and turned into a quilt pattern.

3) Drafting – How to draw the quilt onto graph paper.


This lesson was difficult at times where you really had to think about how to break down a pattern into elements. Each quilt in the exercises had different elements going on. I found it easier to draft if I drew outlines around the “blocks” before trying to color individual squares. It’s hard to see in these blurry photos, but I have pencil outlines of each “block.” Inside each block I pencil-outlined the pieces that make the pattern. Once I got the design broken down, there is a lot of repetition to draw out the blocks to make the entire quilt.


But once you get to that stage, this lesson was fun because it’s always fun to color.

Who doesn’t love coloring! There is something meditative about filling in all those empty squares with bold color.


I came away from this lesson knowing a lot more about quilt patterns that I knew before! I realize that each quilt has essential “blocks” that are then broken down into smaller parts. This will help me see the construction in any quilt I come across. Which is a new lens for me. It’s a way to simplify the complicated!


What about you? Do you design your own quilts? Have you ever draft a quilt before you make it? What did you used to find difficult that is now a piece of cake?

This post is part of a series where I work through Quilter’s Academy, a book by Harriet Hargrave & Carrie Hargrave. See archives for the rest of the series.


4 thoughts on “QA Class 150 Lesson 1-3: Drafting Quilts

  1. Great Job! I just found your blog. It is awesome! I just finished the table runner lesson so I think we’re in about the same place working through the books. I’m excited to see your progress!

    I loved the drafting lesson! Definitely a game changer for me! I love knowing what the final product will look like before I commit to a particular design/fabric. Great post!

    1. Hey Dawn! Thanks for the comment and checking in! I have paused most of my quilting, with the exception of a group project with a neighborhood library quilt group. I’m expecting my first baby in May 2018! Needless to say, the transition to motherhood is taking up most of my energy! As things start settling I imagine being home full time will eventually pull me back into my quilting practice and projects. We’ll see!

join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s